Holding by Graham Norton

A few months ago, I watched Holding, a gentle crime drama, on ITV. I really enjoyed it and didn’t initially realise it was based on a novel of the same name by Graham Norton. Generally, if I’m going to watch a TV or film adaptation, I will only watch it after reading the book, but I can be forgiven this time, as I didn’t realise it was based on a book!

Having watched the TV programme, I didn’t feel any burning desire to read the book, because I already knew what happened. But then I saw Holding in Waterstones as one of its Read for Ukraine titles, so I had to buy it. (This is a changing list of books, with 100% of the sales going to Oxfam’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.)

Sergeant PJ Collins is the only police offer (Garda) in the small Irish village of Duneen. When human remains are found on a building site, he finally has some ‘proper’ police work to do. Does he even know how to conduct an investigation? And can he work with the detective sent from Cork to lead the case?

Everyone in the village seems to think the body is that of Tommy Burke, who disappeared just before his wedding. But somebody said that somebody else said they’d seen him leaving the village on a bus… If Tommy Burke had left on a bus, where did he go and why did he never make contact with anyone in Duneen again?

PJ is convinced the two women who knew him best might have some answers. His former fiancee is a drinker with an unhappy marriage, while the young women who’d had a crush on him lives a lonely existence with her sisters.

Holding is a lovely, gentle detective story, with PJ bumbling around trying to get answers. I would have liked to have read it without having seen the TV programme first, but I still really enjoyed it.

Did I have a clear picture of the characters and scenes from the TV show in my head when I read it? Yes. Did the TV show differ slightly from the book? Yes.

There was a surprising number of differences between the book and the TV show, including differences in family and relationships. There was also more focus on PJ’s obsession with his weight and looks in the book than on TV. Knowing a particular big twist was coming up, I could see the clues in the book which I don’t think were there on TV. (I don’t think I would have seen the twist in the book though without watching the programme first, despite the clues!)

If you like detective stories without too much gore, I would definitely recommend Holding.

Holding, Holding by Graham Norton, Graham Norton, Book review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’ve just read Home Stretch by him, and found it quite a good read, better than I expected. It was a random purchase similar to what you picked up here,

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    • I read Home Stretch last year and enjoyed it. A lot of my book purchases these days are random choices as the supermarket bargains are hard to resist!

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  2. I didn’t watch Holding but I’m generally of the type that reads first, watches later. There has only been one one series that I liked televised more than read and that was the Discovery of Witches. I didn’t even finish the books, although I found the second series also a bit hard going, I’m glad I made it through in the end. This does sound like the type of story I’d enjoy.

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    • I’m definitely usually a read first, watch later! The only TV show I’ve enjoyed more than the book was Normal People. I didn’t much enjoy the book, but the TV programme was brilliant.

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